According to The Food Lover's Companion, Eccles cake, named after the town of Eccles, in Lancashire, England, is "a small domed confection [that] has a filling of currants and other dried fruit mixed with sugar and butter and encased in a puff pastry shell. Queen's Cuisine chef Jane Muscroft prefers to use homemade puff pastry, but she calls for store-bought in this recipe so as to make it easier on home cooks. If you'd like to try the real thing, Muscroft sells puff pastry made with butter and unbleached flour via her website, qconline.us.
Eccles Cakes 1 sheet Pepperidge Farm or other frozen puff pastry (or 1/4 pound homemade) 1 stick butter 1-2/3 cups raisins 1/2 cup soft brown sugar milk granulated sugar
Thaw pastry according to instructions on package.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in a saucepan, then add raisins and sugar. Mix together until sugar has dissolved, then transfer to a small bowl to cool. It's a good idea to do this ahead of time; if the mixture is still warm when you add it to the pastry, it will be difficult to work with.
Open out pastry sheet, then cut into three strips along fold seams.
Flour board and roll one strip of pastry into a rectangle 15 x 5 inches (approx). Cut into three 5 x 5 inch squares. Repeat with remaining strips of pastry.
Put a spoonful of cooled raisin mixture into the center of each square.
Moisten the edges of a pastry square with water. Fold the edges up and seal to make a parcel.
Turn over so seal is on the bottom and use a rolling pin to roll lightly into a circle.
Place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Repeat with remaining pastry squares.
Cut three slits into the top of each cake, then brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in oven for 15 minutes, turning after 10.
Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 9 cakes